FOURTH PLACE FOR VAN DER MARK AS PATA YAMAHA END SEASON IN SENSATIONAL FASHION
The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team bounced back in incredible style on Saturday under the floodlights in Qatar at the final round of the 2017 FIM Superbike World Championship, to confirm the progress made this year after their unfortunate double DNF in Race 1. Michael van der Mark was involved in the battle for the podium, just missing out as he crossed the line in fourth behind Alex Lowes, to cap off a season that has seen the Pata Yamaha Team emerge as serious WorldSBK contenders.
Van der Mark had suffered from bad luck in Race 1, as he crashed out after a misjudgement saw him make contact with Tom Sykes bringing an end to his incredible run of 11 consecutive point-scoring finishes. Like his teammate Lowes, he showed what he is made of on Saturday in the hot and humid conditions in Qatar as he pulled off a breathtaking ride in Race 2. Lining up 12th on the grid, he made a blistering start that, incredibly, saw him up into fifth by the end of the first lap.
Showing scintillating race pace, he stayed within two seconds of Davies and Rea ahead of him until lap 9 but, unfortunately, in charging through the field in such aggressive fashion, he had used up his rear tyre. When his teammate Lowes made a move on him with 5 laps to go he did just did not have the grip levels to fight back but, undeterred, he continued to ride superbly and match the pace of the riders in front of him to bring his R1 home in fourth, to complete an excellent end to the season for the Pata Yamaha Team.
In doing so, he recorded his 20th top ten finish of the year and secured sixth in the championship standings with 223 points but, more importantly, confirmed the pace he had shown in the last few rounds, establishing himself as a regular podium contender in the process and the 2014 Supersport World Champion is already looking forward to the start of the 2018 season.
Michael van der Mark: “It’s been a good last race of the season and I am happy with fourth place after coming from 12th on the grid. I had a really good start and a strong first lap, plus I was feeling so much better with the bike today than yesterday and my pace was quite good. I tried everything to follow Chaz Davies but could not close the gap and Alex was closing quickly behind me, then he passed me and I couldn’t stay with him because I had used up my rear tyre. To finish the season with Alex on the podium and myself in fourth is really good because in the last couple of races we have improved so much with the R1. We have been more consistent and it gives us something to build on during the winter and for the new season with the new rules. I am looking forward to testing again and already I am thinking about Race 1 in Phillip Island next year!”